Arabic Explained: 20 Things You May Not Know About Arabic

Arabic Explained: 20 Things You May Not Know About Arabic

As you begin studying Arabic, you’ll learn a lot about both the language and the culture; however, there are some secrets of the Arabic language that you won’t find in a textbook or on an online app (except for the Kaleela Arabic learning app, of course). Here are 20 of them:

  1. Arabic is spoken by around 315 million people, ranking it as the 5th most spoken language in the whole world after Mandarin, Spanish, English and Hindi!

  • Another of the amazing facts in Arabic translation you may not know about is that many of the most popular or spoken languages in the world have been influenced by Arabic such as English, Spanish, Indonesian, French, Persian, Urdu, Kurdish, Bengali, Hindu, Malay, Tagalog, Portuguese and Turkish.

  • Speaking of influence, Arabic is a member of the Semitic languages family and was also influenced by other languages such as Aramaic, Hebrew, Persian, and Hellenistic Greek; for example, the word “madina” (meaning city) is of Hebrew origin.

  • The Maltese language is considered a branch of Arabic and is also the only Arabic dialect written in Latin alphabet!

  • While it’s true that classical Arabic only dates back to the 6th century, the Arabic language is, in fact, at least 1,500 years old with older versions of the language and dialects spoken before the emergence of Islam dating as far back as the 2nd century BCE when the Nabataeans, who lived in what is known as Jordan today, wrote a cursive Aramaic which developed into the Arabic alphabet.

  • The Arabic language has an “abjad” system and not an alphabet. The Arabic abjad is made up of 28 letters, written from right to left. All of the letters are consonants, since the vowels in Arabic are denoted by diacritics – marks that can be added either on top or underneath the letters.

  • Each Arabic alphabet letter can be written in four different ways when writing a word: (1) when it is stand-alone or isolated, (2) when it is at the beginning of the word, (3) when it is at the middle of the word, and (4) when it is at the end of the word.

  • The Arabic alphabet includes letters or sounds that are not found in other language like Haa, Kha, Ayn, Ghain, Dad, Haa, Saa, Taa, Thaa, Qaf, and some unique sounds like the rolled “r” which is similar to Spanish r. Then there’s also the raspy Kh, the gargling GH and the glottal stop “ayn” which doesn’t have an equivalent in English.

  • Arabic language is a cursive language, as the letters are joined together both when written and when typed. Remember, however, that each letter has four different forms depending on its position in the word, beginning, middle, end, or stand alone, as mentioned earlier.

  1. Arabic language has almost unlimited vocabulary, with no exact or verified number of words. Sources are conflicting and claim it can be between 100,000 to 500 million; nevertheless, there is no definitive answer.

  1. While words are written from right to left in Arabic, numbers are written from left to right.

  1. Arabic uses punctuation marks like other languages; however, they are written backwards! Since Arabic is written from write to left, doesn’t that make sense؟

  1. In case you’re wondering, “Does Arabic use capital letters?” the answer is no.

  1. There is no verb “to be” in the Arabic language.

  1. There are at least 11 words for “love” (Hubb, حب), and a 100 for “camel” (Jamal, جمل).

  1. It will take you between 1,000 and 1,500 hours to reach the Common European Framework for Reference for Languages’ high intermediate level in Arabic.

  1. Arabic has often been considered one of the hardest languages to learn after Chinese, but recent studies have shown that it’s actually not really that much harder to learn than other languages, just the approach is different because of the way the letters are written and the root system of words is a bit different. So it’s not the language, it’s the approach to it that is difficult.  

  2. Here are a couple of Arabic literature facts especially when it comes to Arabic poetry:  Did you that meters of rhymed Arabic poetry are very difficult, and known as “buhour” or “seas”? Additionally Arabic poetry played an important part in Arabic culture history and language, and was used for war propaganda, praise and mockery. Very often, poetry battles would stand in lieu of real war-field battles, much like the “rap-offs” that shot Eminem to fame.

  1. Arabic calligraphy started as a tool of communication, progressing to where it had been used for artistic expression such as construction, design, currency. In fact,  modern artist consider Arabic calligraphy its own separate area of the arts.

  • Many students in the Arab world treat the language as “inferior” or “outdated”, treating it as an “uncool” language, and opting to rely on English for self-expression; however, as it is now the fourth largest language in the world, Arabic is a language of the future.

Aside from these fun facts, there are numerous benefits to gain from learning Arabic including the benefits you’ll reap in your work, leisure and health. The sooner you learn Arabic and the more often you use it, the greater the benefits will be. So why not get started today? Once you’ve started reaping its rewards, you’ll be glad you did.

So, what’s the best way to learn Arabic and start taking advantage all of its benefits today? Why, it’s through Arabic learning apps like the one offered by Kaleela, of course!

Kaleela is an Arabic language app and website designed for those of you who would like to learn Arabic online for free.  Our user-friendly app is downloadable to both IOS and Android mobile devices and available in a number of languages including English, Spanish, Indonesian, and Chinese – with more to come!

After downloading the app, you can choose from a variety of Arabic language courses including Modern Standard Arabic (also known as fusha) or delve a little deeper into the Arabic dialects by learning Egyptian Arabic, Levantine Arabic and even the Syrian dialect.  For those of you learning Arabic for beginners, there are even special courses on the Arabic alphabet and how to write Arabic letters.

Visit today for more info and start learning Arabic today!

Kaleela – Learn Arabic the Right Way!